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A French buyer placed a million-dollar order for traditional Cantonese painted ceramic vases on the opening day of the second phase of the 98th Chinese Export Commodities Fair on Tuesday (Oct. 25).
The buyer ordered a container of 58,000 24-cm-tall vases made of ceramic material as thin as eggshell, each sold at US$20.
Traditional Cantonese handicrafts, presented by the Guangzhou delegation, made a high profile comeback at the fair after an absence of decades.
More than 20 pieces of Cantonese embroidery, which had been phased out of the fair since the 1970s, attracted many foreign visitors at the Liuhua exhibition hall. One single piece by embroidery master Chen Shaofang depicting red litchis and a parrot was quoted at 1 million yuan (US$123,000). Some buyers placed orders for embroidery works quoted at between 20,000 yuan and 30,000 yuan for their personal collections.
The ceramics displayed at the fair were of a "Cantonese painted lotus" brand. Chen Wenmin, a senior manager of the company manufacturing the vases, said they had attended the fair since 1987, but were forced to quit in 2004 after Iran charged a high anti-dumping tariff against Chinese porcelain. Chen said the city government's subsidies helped them back to the fair.
Iran, the second largest ceramics producer in the world after China, manufactures 50,000 tons of ceramics a year, one-fifteenth of the output of China.
The most expensive porcelain exhibit displayed was an arrow container by master Yu Pei quoted at 200,000 yuan. The container, shaped like a cylinder, was used to hold arrows in ancient times.
The second half of the fair, featuring 14,304 booths set up at two venues in Pazhou and Liuhua, runs from Tuesday to Sunday and features toys, decorations, knits, and daily utensils.
Meanwhile, the fair's venue on Liuhua Road may be moved to Pazhou in two years, with the second phase of construction of the Pazhou Exhibition Center expected to commence this year.